Newsletter | May/Jun 2008

Summer Reading

by Suzanne Stewart
Both commencement addresses I attended recently encouraged graduates to continue to broaden their horizons, to seek the full story, to deepen your understanding, all by reading. Keep reading, continue to read. No matter what your path, reading is the way to the goal. In this time of Cliff Notes, sound bites, and power point presentations, they were advised to dig deeper, seek the whole story. Not just the hook, whole book.

I want to invite all OWA members to make the OWA Reading List an ongoing updated list. Please share your favorite books be they about architecture, design, women, or works that you just love. And it doesn't have to be just released. Please make your contribution with a brief statement about the book. We'll keep the list going on the website with new additions highlighted in the newsletter. Send to: OWA Information.

We are kicking off this feature with two book suggestions submitted by Judith Rodden.

What I Know Now, Letters to My Younger Self
By Ellyn Spragins
Broadway, $17.95

In touching, inspiring, and heartfelt letters, more than 40 of the most notable women in modern history reveal wishes for their younger selves. As one might expect, the letters such driven and ambitious women might write to their younger selves include advice to slow down, to have fun, to appreciate life --- advice most modern women could use. But in addition, these remarkable letters give us a frank and penetrating insight into who these women were and are, from the floundering actress that is a young Camryn Manheim, to Kitty Kelley on the brink of releasing her controversial book, The Family, to a fledgling reporter, Ann Curry, as she attempts to shed her uniqueness to fit in with mainstream media. Stay true to yourself. Don't be afraid to spread your wings. Be smart about the risks you take. The wisdom in these letters is hard won, battle proved, and above all, gifted with love.

FOR KEEPS: Women Tell the Truth About Their Bodies, Growing Older and Acceptance
Edited by Victoria Zachheim

Why is it with everything women have accomplished, we still struggle with our feelings about our bodies? Perhaps it's because, in our society, body image has become a loaded term. Whether we're young girls or elderly women, we are bombard by the media's idea of perfection: ligh yound models with perfect skin and smooth boides too often achieved through eating disorderes and fad diets. And no matter what product the manufacturer is trying to sell, the substance of that message remains the same: women are imperfect and, unless we succumb to the hype, that imperfection will thwart our chances for happiness.

In FOR KEEPS, 27 gifted authors write personal essays about how body image has colored, changed or enriched their lives.. .or how life's events have changed their body image. Many of these authors have experienced some transformative moment when they thought Aha! and life was never the same. Whether the focus is illness, depression, our mothers, or growing old, the writing is profound, sometimes hilarious, and always engaging. What better than humor and the naked truth to celebrate and flaunt our bodies and our attitudes toward them? Whoever we are, the way we feel about our bodies profoundly affects the way we live our lives.

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